Saturday, December 16, 2017


I didn’t take anything. I’m waiting for a friend of mine.

Yeah, I have a wrench under my coat.

No, I don’t have a receipt for it. It just looks like one of yours.

So you’re stuck with me. How long does this usually take?

Look, I just blew it. Just kick me out. It’s cool. 

I’m sick of waiting; where’s the “man” when you want him?

Changing of the guard, eh? 

They’ve had me in here for over an hour.

I’m so sorry. Can’t I just pay for it and never come into the store again? 

Sorry about the tears, man. My kid is so hungry and what if I lose my place? 
We’d be on the street!

But you can do something, can’t you? I won’t ever come in here again, I swear!

Thank you so much, man! I won’t ever do anything this stupid again. Really!


coming in UMM Binnacle Ultrashorts 2017 

(This Flash is expanded into a 10-minute, one act play: let me know by comments if you would like to see it up.)


I fumble with the collar, hands shaking.
The eagerness of the dog is my friend.
Down familiar streets,
I try to walk with my relationship around my ankles.
The dog shows me around.

Today the maple leaves have curled into crowns,
A hummer preens on the highest twig,
Puddles collect a flow of glimpses from the garden.
Tomorrow joins yesterday in retreat, Now wins the day.
And just in time.

My face tightened with pain, my heart shrunk, my ears burned
From the harshness of minutes before
In the past, where I am from.

I would despair
Were I not here

pubbed in UMM Binnacle Ultrashorts 2016

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Zorbing in Rotorua by Matt Heap 2005


       Seattle-based Boeing Company reported the sale Friday of three colossal custom jets of the new 777-77 Series.  Spokesperson Lee Whittock says they will surpass the 747 fleet outfitted for the Saudi Royal family and the 769 created for Oracle Executive Chairman, Larry Ellison.  The buzz centers on the addition of on-board golf and swimming.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


published 2/18/2014 here:
Mowing Alfalfa (SwissLane Farms) 

Manuel laughs and sets the pace at the lumberyard, salvaging twisted, stained, split lumber, turning short pieces into stakes or pickets. He and his crew replenish plywood, cut orders, load trucks and help customers in 100 degree heat or driving rain.

I’ve carpooled with him since the economy puked in 2008.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


by Erik Svehaug               first published: jan. 20, 2014
Have and Have Not, crtsy Lee Chapman

Chet shoved the key into the lock of his Brooklyn apartment and twisted.

In arid Mauritania, Hissein fell writhing against the lead goat, holding his belly from the pain of the parasite in his stomach.

As Chet dropped down the stairs two at a time toward the sidewalk, the tailings dam of Cerro Negro, Petorca, in Chile, began to bulge outward from age and the press of water behind it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Severed Dreams

The snore that severed me from peaceful dreams
Was his zipper, ragged as the pull stroke of a chain saw.
Though the act was six thousand and many nights ago,
The sound still rips through me as I edge toward sleep.

The cruelest wedge he drove forced comfort from my bed,
Where I might have healed when the pounding stopped.
My duvet of down and sheets of Egyptian weave don’t soothe
The girl of twelve, sobbing, shattered, on her closet floor.

The graft never takes; split forever, my seam is open to the world.
From dark to dawn, till I stand up, fully clothed,
I count the hundred saplings around her grave
And, weary, guard that little forest with my life.

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She wanted help, the thin, jowl-eyed lady. Long pink scars scattered like brush strokes up her brown arms and onto bare shoulders. Her hair hung resignedly past her shoulders. Her lipstick was only approximately in position. She teetered on gold open-heeled shoes.

“Just give me a strong lock and chain; 3 feet of chain that can go around the door handle. My husband threw the other one away. And he broke the last lock I had, like, like it was made of candy. He gets so rough when he drinks. I need to lock the bedroom better. When he decides he wants me, he just comes and takes me. I need a better way to keep him out.”

Saturday, August 17, 2013


                  for Aug 13, 2013                                             

When young Fancy came to Master’s Big Place, his birth momma, Emma, had him all hugged up in a buttercup yellow blanket.  They glimpsed each other sometimes after that. Emma sometimes found a reason to come up to the Big House and rest her scratchy palm on his head, for a second.

Betsy, the cook, took daily care of him.  At night, she would tell him ‘jump on up’ to the lumpy soft mattress behind the kitchen. Emma slept cross the yard in the Quarters with the hands.

Due to Master’s whim, as he grew, Fancy learned to eat when James, the Master’s son ate, at the low blue table, near him.  He had to be finished whenever James was, so he had to eat quickly.  After lunch, they played hoops and with the red ball.  Soon he was allowed to practice on his own slate, while Tutor Foster lectured and examined James in Master’s study or in the screened porch, if it was very hot.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


                               .published June, 2013 

About six years ago, a dark-haired, thirtyish man in a white T-shirt pushed an arresting young woman in a wheel chair up the main aisle of the hardware store. She had intense brown eyes, smooth tan skin, like her companion, and exuberant, thick eyebrows.

He approached me. “Do you have a little time you can spend with my sister? Anna has a few questions.”

“Sure. What can I help with?” I said. I was grateful. I am a rover in the store, free to help almost anybody with pretty much anything, but especially a pretty girl.

The girl had the same shiny rich, black hair as her brother, shoulder length. Her upper body was brown and broad; her legs were in jeans, but Velcro-wrapped to the foot rests of the chair.

“Well, I hope you can help me with pulleys, because I have to invent some things. I can picture it, but I need help to get the pieces together.”

Her eyes were mirrors into which I didn’t dare look. “Okay.  Anna, I’m Jerry. What are we building?”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Married Love, Year Thirty

                     Published in U.M.M. Binnacle UltraShorts 2012

Fading memory is now our little family’s art,

And gravity unwraps the careful packaging of youth;

So let’s meet in serenity, embracing grief and joy,

In the mercy of moments that dawn perpetually.

When you quit pressing weekdays into weeks,

And I stop scraping flotsam into heaps,

We’ll come together in the unmapped dark

And shine our flashlights at the moon.